Why we should all be doing the Dutch Reach

One of the great things about travelling around on a bike is that you see how people do things differently – and often better – in other places. Here’s one brilliant idea we should all be sharing. It’s called the Dutch Reach and it’s a beautifully simple way to prevent “dooring” – when people in cars open their doors into the path of cyclists.

Only the other day, my son’s friend was telling me about the two times he was doored. The first time, he was able to swerve and hook his foot around the door to push it back. The second time, he had no time to react; he hit the door full on, flew off his bike and landed in a heap on the road.

Sadly, dooring causes hundreds of serious accidents and a number of fatalities every year.

A simple solution

The Dutch Reach could prevent this kind of accident. Instead of opening the door with their nearest hand, both drivers and passengers are taught to use the hand farthest from the door – that way they have to turn before they open the door, giving them the chance to check for passing cyclists.

It’s standard practice in the Netherlands – it’s taught in schools and is part of the driving test. They’ve actually been doing this for 50 years. Could that be one reason why you barely see any cyclists wearing a helmet in Amsterdam?

You can find out more about the Dutch Reach on the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents website and see it in action in this YouTube video.

Let’s spread the word!

Cycling in Holland

Talking of all things Dutch, cycling in Holland is pretty wonderful thanks to all the smooth flat bike paths. Read about our recent four-day cycling holiday in Holland.